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What's up with Vatz? A Tamil metal album

CHENNAI: Hard impact. That’s what’s Steeve Vatz wants to give people with his new genre, steel rock. And the best part is that it’s completely in Tamil, save for a few English words, to reach

Published: 24th April 2012 10:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:30 PM   |  A+A-

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Steeve Vatz| Martin louis

CHENNAI: Hard impact. That’s what’s Steeve Vatz wants to give people with his new genre, steel rock. And the best part is that it’s completely in Tamil, save for a few English words, to reach out to the masses. The ace guitarist says, “I’ve been wanting to do a Tamil metal album for ages now,” and goes on, “But recordings and other projects have kept me busy.” And listening to some of his songs at his private home studio in Kodambakkam, it is certain that Chennai has never heard anything this heavy in Tamil before.

Grunge guitar progression, pounding drums and the occasional dark laughs hit you as you take a seat. For Vatz, who has played for the likes of AR Rahman and Harris Jayaraj and worked on commercial Kollywood numbers in films Nanban, Oru Kal Oru Kannadi and the upcoming Thuppakki, this metal album is a radical change from the commercial flavour he is known for. He elaborates, “The songs address social issues like poverty, religion and alcoholism with really abstract lyrics.” He adds, “I don’t want to preach with this album but do want to get people to think.” In fact, the project that is still untitled may just be named after a Tamil profanity in order to catch the attention of the masses.

Then there is the flip side of the equation – his family, with the musician’s three little ones (the oldest aged eight) running in and out of the studio. What are their thoughts on all the loud music they hear? “Oh they love it,” he laughs.

Vatz aka Roky, a name that his fans fondly call him at shows, has decided to get back to teaching guitar. He reveals, “You know I’ve had people like filmmakers S J Suryah and Gautham Menon ask for guitar lessons, and that has really inspired me to share my knowledge of music.” Also, the popular Vatz fest, a platform for upcoming rock bands, will be revived this August after a five-year hiatus. “I’m really excited to see it come back to life,” says Vatz, who sports a rather different look these days.

Asked about that, “Yeah,” he smiles, “When you’re a musician and sport a goatee and bald head, everyone tends to stare.” But crew cut and clean shaven now, this father of three says, “I fit right in with all the other parents in their school. But when I’m back home and composing metal, I put on my bandana and go back to being me.”

Probably, the biggest irony for Roky fans is that his metal album will not feature him on the guitar. “I’m trying something different, I’m playing the drums this time,” he says. Asked why, and he responds, “When I play the guitar I can’t help myself, I get jazzy sometimes and suddenly play the blues, but I didn’t want to get too carried away.”



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